Tonight's Moon, stars and planets -- Sky & Telescope magazine's daily sky sights for the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes.
Sometimes, it's just as exciting to watch a celestial object fade or disappear as it is to see it explode. We celebrate the "return" of a mysterious variable star and prepare for Pluto to occult a star.
Friday, August 3 • This week four bright planets shine at once during twilight, if you have low horizons in the right places. From right to left, they're Venus low in the west, Jupiter higher in the southwest, Saturn at about the same height in the south-southeast, and brilliant Mars low in the southeast.…
As told in this month's astronomy podcast, August offers excellent viewing conditions for the always-flashy Perseid meteor shower — and a chance to see four bright planets at once.
Add a dash of random to your night sky viewing plans and you're guaranteed an adventure. We'll start ours with the famous globular M22 and see where it takes us.
Join the author for a wandering walk through a night's observing. Sometimes it's best to leave your plans behind.
Friday, July 27 • Full Moon (exact at 4:20 p.m. EDT). Full Moon is opposition Moon, so it shines with brilliant Mars, which is just a day past its opposition. Mars right now is 143 times farther from us than the Moon (and it's twice as large). Its surface is covered with rusty dark…
Not only will the Moon will be totally eclipsed this Friday, but Mars will be at opposition and shine in tandem with the red Moon all night!
Friday, July 20 • The waxing gibbous Moon shines over Jupiter this evening, as shown here. Left of Jupiter by just 2° is the wide binocular double star Alpha Librae, magnitudes 2.8 and 5.1. The Moon is 1.3 light-seconds distant from us, and Jupiter is 44 light-minutes in its background. The two stars of…
Comet PanSTARRS (C/2017 S3) has erupted again! Now bright enough to see in binoculars, it might become a naked-eye object if it survives until perihelion.
Friday, July 13 • Cassiopeia is now well past its annual bottoming out due north. Look for its W pattern climbing low in the north-northeast after dark. The farther north you live, the higher it will be. Saturday, July 14 • As twilight fades, see if you can catch the Moon over Mercury very…
With opposition only weeks away, will the current global dust storm finally break? We look at the prospects.
The last and one of the most picturesque occultations of Aldebaran by the Moon happens on Tuesday morning, July 10. Catch it or wait 15 years for the next!
Friday, July 6 • As twilight fades, watch for Regulus coming into view 3½° to the left of Venus, as shown here. • After dark the central stars of the constellation Lyra, forming a small triangle and parallelogram, dangle to the lower right from bright Vega high in the east. The two brightest stars…
July's a busy month for skywatching. Not only are five bright planets in view, but three comets and a newly-discovered nova are also observable. And it all starts with a bang on Independence Day.
This month's astronomy podcast tells you how to spot a five bright planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — in the evening sky.
Friday, June 29 • The waning gibbous Moon rises in the east-southeast in late twilight. An hour later, watch for Mars to clear the horizon about a fist at arm's length to the Moon's lower right (for North America). Saturday, June 30 • By late evening the Moon and Mars are arisen together, low…
No telescope? No problem. Just use your eyeballs! On a dark summer night at least two dozen deep-sky objects can be seen without optical aid.
Saturn arrives at opposition on June 27th, very close to the time of full Moon.
Will Mars soon be hidden under a veil of dust? Let's hope not. We explore the current storm and the planet's upcoming close opposition.
Friday, June 22 • The waxing gibbous Moon this evening shines with bright Jupiter to its lower left and fainter Spica to its lower right. Saturday, June 23 • The bright "star" with the Moon tonight is Jupiter. Although they look rather close together, Jupiter is currently 1,800 times farther away — and it's…
If you like sunrises and sunsets, look for the green flash, a phenomenon that happens more often that you think.
The nearby Red Planet displays remarkable changes every apparition. As Mars approaches opposition, keep an eye out for some of these differences.
Venus shines brightly in the west-northwest during twilight and just after. Jupiter shines high in the south.
Vega is the brightest star very high in the east after dark. Just lower left of it is 4th-magnitude Epsilon Lyrae, the Double-Double. Epsilon forms one corner of a roughly equilateral triangle with Vega and Zeta Lyrae.